For everything that belongs to the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever. 1 John 2:16-17 (HCSB)
How desperately our arms want to reach out and grab ahold of all that is passing away! The things of this world call out to us with their false promises, tempting us to believe only in the things we can see. As we look at the material world around us, we are drawn to its enticing beauty, and we long to embrace the power and prestige that will elevate us to a higher level. As we set our eyes upon what other people have, our hearts begin to yearn for those things above all else. In the midst of such deception, our tunnel vision prevents us from seeing that all of it is merely a facade, a mirage that is here for a moment and then gone.
If we base our lives on such things, we unwisely build for ourselves an empire upon which there is no solid foundation. Just as people running excitedly toward a beautiful oasis in the middle of a desert, we arrive anxiously, only to find that there is nothing there at all. Everything we had placed our hope in vanishes quickly before our eyes. So it will be at the end of our lives if we look for those things to save us and find in utter shock that none of it mattered, not even in the least. All that was real and eternal had been traded in cheaply for the values of the world, for things that do not last.
The draw of this temptation, although so foolish, can be very convincing to our selfish, prideful hearts. Left to our own instincts, we are quick to trade in God’s will for our own. Only through a mind controlled by his spirit can we conquer the giants of the world that try to gain victory over us. Let us pray earnestly to God as the psalmist did: “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways” (Psalm 119:36-37 ESV). Let us see the things of this world through the value system of God’s eyes and appraise them as he would. Then let us assess the value of a life lived in complete submission to his will and be amazed at its immense greatness!
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… Matthew 6:19-20 (ESV)
For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. James 1:11
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:26-27